Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No-Knead Bread

Years ago, when everyone was baking the New York Times no-knead bread, I tried it out and the only thing that happened was that I ruined a perfectly fine le creuset and generated inedible bread. Not sure what made me try it again (I used the already wrecked le creuset) but this time it worked out beautifully. Maybe, I understand bread a little bit better. Also, I used the kitchenaid standmixer for some good kneading, which allowed the dough to rise in record time (a few hours). Once the bread was baked, it was perfection! This is a really simple recipe with few ingredients; however, the salt should be added late in the process (salt and yeast don’t work together that well during the initial rise process). The trick with the preheated cast iron dutch oven creates a very crusty bread. It is like fresh French bread.   (The recipe is actually very similar to the NYTimes recipe, a bit less water and more yeast, anyway it worked!)

Minimally kneaded bread:
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ts yeast
  • 1 ts bakers milk powder (King Arthur Flour website) (optional)
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  1. In a standmixer bowl with the kneading hook attachment, whisk together the flour and yeast. Slowly add the lukewarm water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Knead for about 5-10 min., Add the salt, and knead another 2 min. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 6-12 hours (up to 24h if you knead by hand) at room temperature. 
  2. Preheat oven to 450F. Place a cast iron dutch oven with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the risen dough onto a floured surface (mixture will be sticky) and lightly shape into a round loaf.
  3. Remove the hot cast iron pot from the oven and carefully place the dough into it. Cover with a lid and return to oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove bread from oven and from pot and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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